Revealed: Ads Urging Canadians to Oppose Climate Laws Paid for by Gas Industry

A campaign called ‘Voice for Energy’ doesn’t disclose funders. But Google’s ad registry shows it’s tied to the Canadian Gas Association.
Geoff Dembicki
Geoff Dembicki
on
Timothy Egan, CGA president and CEO
Timothy Egan, Canadian Gas Association president and CEO. Source: CGA YouTube

A national industry group representing gas producers is quietly paying for digital advertisements urging Canadians to “speak up” to their elected officials against laws addressing climate change and public health, DeSmog can reveal. 

“Voice of Energy” is a new ad campaign and website featuring photos of diverse and well-dressed young people, explainers making the case for natural gas while downplaying its massive contribution to climate change, and videos urging viewers to join in an effort to “protect” the fossil fuel against laws restricting new gas hookups in buildings. 

Screencap from ad that doesn’t disclose CGA’s connection. Source: Facebook Ad Library

Voice of Energy’s website does not disclose who created and paid for the campaign. Nor does its Facebook, X, LinkedIn and Instagram pages. But when DeSmog searched Google’s Ads Transparency Center, it found that nearly a dozen digital “Voice for Energy” advertisements have been paid for by CGA Enterprises, a venture of the Canadian Gas Association. 

The industry group’s board members include representatives from pipeline companies such as Enbridge, as well as TC Energy, the builder of the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia. 

That’s concerning, say critics, because when Voice of Energy asks Canadians to oppose new laws replacing gas heating systems in homes and buildings with lower emissions electric heat pumps, it isn’t being upfront about the gas industry’s vested financial interest in opposing restrictions on fossil fuels. 

“They would lose credibility if they did that because they are just trying to increase their own profits at the expense of people’s health and the climate,” Leah Temper, director of the health and economic policy program at the organization Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), told DeSmog.

Her organization last year filed a $10 million false advertising complaint against the Canadian Gas Association, which is still ongoing, for a separate campaign featuring ads in the Globe and Mail and on Facebook describing natural gas as a smart “clean-burning” choice for people’s homes.  

DeSmog sent questions to Voice of Energy’s media email but didn’t receive a response. 

One of the Google advertisements paid for by CGA Enterprises states that “Canadians deserve reliable energy options. Natural gas is one of them. Let’s protect it. Let’s speak up together.” It includes a link to the Voice for Energy website, which in turn contains a generic form letter Canadians can customize and then email to their elected officials. “I am a concerned voter from {locality} writing to you because I heard some cities and governments will be banning natural gas, which means my current or future access to it could be at risk,” it reads.

The form letter appears to be referring to bylaws being advanced in cities like Montreal, Quebec, and Nanaimo, B.C., which would ban natural gas hookups in new buildings. Meanwhile the province of Quebec has banned oil and gas extraction entirely. Fossil fuel heating and electric systems contribute 18 percent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions, while prolonged exposure to fumes from gas stoves increases the risk of asthma and other negative health impacts. 

To send that letter people must enter their name, email and home address. The privacy policy on Voice for Energy’s site states that it “does not sell or lend your information to any third-party marketing group.” But it doesn’t inform people that they’re aiding a campaign linked to the Canadian Gas Association. 

“It’s a lobbying organization that pushes the interests of the fossil gas industry,” Temper said. “They’re advancing their business interests while not disclosing who they are.”

Geoff Dembicki
Geoff Dembicki is an investigative climate journalist based in New York City. He is author of The Petroleum Papers and Are We Screwed?

Related Posts

on

Climate deception litigation, led by the California attorney general, will proceed in San Francisco Superior Court.

Climate deception litigation, led by the California attorney general, will proceed in San Francisco Superior Court.
on

Despite progress pivoting away from fossil-fuel funding, the lion’s share of the bank’s oil and gas lending isn’t covered under the new rules.

Despite progress pivoting away from fossil-fuel funding, the lion’s share of the bank’s oil and gas lending isn’t covered under the new rules.
on

Western provinces are selling fracked gas as a global climate solution. But experts across the Pacific say that’s ‘outdated’ and inaccurate.

Western provinces are selling fracked gas as a global climate solution. But experts across the Pacific say that’s ‘outdated’ and inaccurate.
on

Industries knew plastics could not be recycled, yet they promoted it to boost disposability profits, echoing Big Tobacco’s campaigns of deception.

Industries knew plastics could not be recycled, yet they promoted it to boost disposability profits, echoing Big Tobacco’s campaigns of deception.